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Keeping Family Traditions Alive After Losing a Loved One


Long-held traditions, especially during holidays and other special events, provide comfort and unity for family members. After the loss of a loved one, it can be confusing when trying to decide how to handle the new situation. If the loved one prepared special dishes, put up specific decorations, or gave very personal gifts, how are those traditions continued after he or she is gone?

Grief can be overwhelming; those suffering with it may feel unmotivated, scatterbrained, and unable to complete necessary tasks. It's important to focus on the traditions you and your family want to continue, and to make specific plans to ensure they occur. Traditions and rituals were created with purpose, and they give meaning to special events; they provide comfort and security, and help families develop tight bonds. Letting go of a special tradition can be scary, but it's not impossible. Choose to keep the ones that make family members happy and remind everyone of better times.

There always seems to be pressure to have the "perfect holiday". While a holiday after a death will feel far from perfect, it can provide a gentle environment for grief support and remembrance. Don't compare holidays after a death with previous holidays; accept that things have to change a little, but don't compromise on the traditions that bring happiness. Assign new roles to family members, and support each other during the difficult times.

If you're wondering which traditions to continue, get input from each family member. Being together and enjoying each other's company is the top priority. Traditions can be put on the back burner during times of grief and brought back in the future, if necessary. Look for ways to include memories of your loved one in upcoming holidays and during special events like anniversaries, graduations, and birthdays.

For more information about keeping family traditions alive after the loss of a loved one, please contact:

Adolf Funeral Home & Cremation Services

John R. Adolf, Director

7000 South Madison Street

Willowbrook, IL 60527


2921 South Harlem Avenue

Berwyn, IL 60402